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Finally made the move to Slovenia and loving it!

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since 21/07/2003


Pri Mraku Guest-House-Inn, Ljubljana 24/08/2015

Great Value in the Heart of Ljubljana

Pri Mraku Guest-House-Inn, Ljubljana Make no mistake about Ciao's odd categorisation of Ljubljana's Pri Mraku, this is a 'hotel' if you really need to define the type of accommodation offered here. This 3 star establishment is situated just round the corner from Plecnik's fabulous university library building (and the other main buildings of Ljubljana's university) and across the road from Krizanke, the former monastery that Slovenia's best known architect re-worked as a cultural centre and summer theatre. In Ljubljana you're never really far from anything and Pri Mraku is a couple of minutes walk from the city's charming old town, the commercial district, the parliament building and the major concert hall, and about ten minutes walk from the train and bus stations. Bagging a Bargain I stayed at Pri Mraku in January 2015 and booked just a couple of weeks before my stay through For a Saturday night stay I paid €60 for a double room with breakfast. January is not a busy time for tourism in Ljubljana (tourists are more likely to be found in the ski resorts at this time of year) but there can be conferences and conventions taking place year round; although Pri Mraku was reasonably busy it was not noisy and crowded and we managed to get a good deal. The hotel website lists a rate of almost €98 for a double room for summer but it is unlikely that, by shopping around, you'd ever have to pay that. Tourist tax of about €1.20 per adult per day is paid on arrival. Children aged under 7 are exempt and ...

Sindersdorfer Hof, Hilpoltstein 17/08/2015

Comfort & Charm at the Sindersdorfer Hof

Escada Taj Sunset Eau de Toilette 24/07/2014

Taj Sunset Packs a Fruity Punch

Escada Taj Sunset Eau de Toilette For the past few years the fashion house Escada has launched a limited edition fragrance on an annual basis. In 2011 it was “Taj Sunset” and the fragrance must have proved popular because it is now available on a permanent basis. I bought a bottle while passing through some airport or other in 2011; I loved the scent but not the bottle itself because the lid was forever becoming separated from the glass bottle and the liquid inside would leak all over the contents of my bag. After two major clean ups and realising that the lid was not going to stay put, I carried the bottle in a plastic ziplock bag. Since so much had been wasted I was delighted to win another bottle in an online competition but by the time the prize arrived Taj Sunset and I had fallen out of love. The bottle remained unopened in its box until earlier this year when I spotted Taj Sunset being promoted in a magazine article. The photograph that accompanies this review shows my second bottle of Taj Sunset; you’d be forgiven for thinking that I wear copious amounts of this because the 50ml bottle is almost empty but the truth is that this one leaked too. I am reviewing the eau de toilette. Tropical Tang Taj Sunset is a really fruity, vibrant scent and while the orange-yellow glow of the bottle suggests what is to come, the name doesn’t. I’d say this scent is more Caribbean than full of the Indian or eastern promise that the name suggests. It opens with a burst of sticky summer fruit full of mango and ...

Hampton by Hilton Luton Airport, Luton 19/05/2014

Hampton by Hilton Luton Airport - Earplugs Sadly Not Included

Hampton by Hilton Luton Airport, Luton I've used Luton Airport Parkway train station so frequently over the last couple of years that I should really have know that the Hampton by Hilton Luton Airport Hotel is situated just outside the station grounds. However, I am usually transferring straight to the airport shuttle bus which departs from what is effectively the front (and opposite side) of the station, which may account for my ignorance. Since Wizz Air seems to love tinkering with the flight times to Ljubljana I can never be sure of what time I need to be at Luton but in April of this year the timing meant that there was no way that I could travel from Newcastle on the day of the flight. We've previously stayed in the Easyhotel in Luton city centre but I was tempted by a good deal at the Hampton by Hilton on this occasion. Location and access The hotel is situated a couple of minutes from the airport and has plenty of parking spaces. The city centre is five minutes away by car and fifteen on foot; there's also a service bus that stops next to the hotel. You could take a taxi to the airport (approximately £7) or you could use the shuttle from the train station, just footsteps away. We took a shuttle service run by Arriva instead which comes from the city centre and stops just opposite the hotel (£1.50 per person). If you don't want to pay hotel prices for snacks and drinks there's a decent pub five minutes walk away and a convenience store just two minutes down the road. If you want more you need to go to ...

Travelodge Doncaster Lakeside, Doncaster 04/04/2014

Not Quite a Belle, But Great for Rovers

The Sanctuary Fresh Faced Purifying Wash 31/03/2014

The Sanctuary - Saving Face

Palmer's Daily Cleansing Gel 01/03/2014

Palmer's Daily Cleansing Gel - I Should Cocoa

Palmer's Daily Cleansing Gel The odd storm and some flooding aside, this winter hasn’t been too bad. I’m thinking in terms of temperature and snowfall here: as I spend a lot of time outdoors I’ve noticed that I’ve not suffered from chapped lips and dry skin like I frequently do in winter. Almost as soon as my plane landed at Ljubljana airport at the beginning of February, however – slap bang in the middle of a disastrous ice storm (an hour in the air circling the airport when you are desperate for a wee is no fun, I promise) – my “winter face” soon developed. Turning up at our home in Slovenia I remembered that I was out of face-wash and had forgotten to stock up at Luton Airport (such products are almost always cheaper in the UK). Fortunately my obsession with collecting free samples provided what I thought would be a temporary stop gap until I could go shopping: in fact, I’ve now found a product I want to use frequently. I would instinctively associate Palmer’s with moisturising cocoa butter products but would never have thought of looking for a cleansing product from the brand. This “Daily Cleansing Gel” follows the same branding as the moisturising products, labelled as it is “Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E”. According to the packaging notes it is fragrance free and for sensitive skin. It contains aloe vera, peptides and Vitamin E. I managed several washes from the sample sachet which kept me going until I was able to go shopping but I wasn’t able to find this product in Slovenia. When I ...

Macek Rooms, Ljubljana 18/02/2014

A Kind of Macek

Macek Rooms, Ljubljana Cosy Kavarna Macek (Ciao's formatting does not allow me to use the correct spelling but it is pronounced "Ma-check") is one of Ljubljana's best known and best loved cafe-bars. Situated on Cankarjevo Nabrezje (though the rooms, or "sobe" in Slovene are officially on Krojaska ulica), the riverside on the old town side of Ljubljana, Macek occupies a prime location; the quaint medieval streets are just behind the cafe, while the famous Triple Bridge and the picturesque pink Franciscan church are just footsteps away along the embankment. A couple of years back, Macek Rooms opened. There are five rooms and one "apartment" to rent on the first and second floors of the building. Having seen photographs of the rooms I was quite tempted but the long opening hours of Macek put me off, especially for a summer stay because I suspected that there would be a lot of noise from all the bars in the vicinity into the early hours. When I recently had a mid morning flight out of Ljubljana on a Wednesday, I decided to give Macek a try under the belief that it would be much quieter in winter. Booking and Checking In I booked through Expedia and paid €61 (£50.31 at the time of booking) for a double room including breakfast and free wi-fi. When we arrived at the accommodation we were the only guests so we were given a larger family room which is intended for three people. Since the room size information listed on on Expedia does not reflect my experience of the rooms, I would advise potential ...

Long Player Late Bloomer - Ron Sexsmith 11/01/2014

Da Do Ron Wrong

Castle Park, Penrith 08/01/2014

Romantic Ruins

Aparthotel Stalowa 52, Warsaw 02/01/2014

Style and Steel - Much the Same Thing at Aparthotel Stalowa

Guerlain Mitsouko Eau de Toilette 01/01/2014

Mysterious Mitsouko

Guerlain Mitsouko Eau de Toilette 'Mitsouko' was launched by Guerlain way back in 1919 but was tweaked and re-launched a couple of years back; somehow that passed me by but a fantastic sales assistant in a local perfume store introduced me to the eau de toilette that quickly established itself as my current favourite. I had some money burning a hole in my purse and asked the assistant to recommend something spicy but a little bit different. Among the handful of ideas she came up with was 'Mitsouko': it's generally classified as a 'fruity chypre', a description that misses the mark in my opinion as, to my nose, this is a warm, slightly powdery and vaguely old-fashioned scent that, though it does have the woody greenness that characterises a the chypre fragrances, is more floral than fruity despite a distinctive hit of peach. It is thought that the name Mitsouko was inspired by a story by French author Claude Farrere. The story is set in Japan and the action takes place during the Russo-Japanese wars; the story describes an illicit romance between a British army officer and Mitsouko, the wife of Japanese Emperor Togo. As both men go to battle, Mitsouko waits quietly at home, not knowing which will be the one to return safely to become her companion. The fragrance seems to me to reflect the story quite nicely; though this is a beautiful scent it is at the same time understated and modest. It has an air of formality I associate with the Japanese but a mysterious side that comes from the overall blend of notes ...

Russell Hobbs 18770 Futura 22/11/2013

The Kettle that Needs a Volume Control

Kokeb Ethiopian Cuisine, London 12/11/2013

Kokeb - An Authentic Ethiopian Experience

Russell Hobbs 18540-70 07/11/2013

Basic Boiler

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